1. Tomorrow, I will be flying down to Orlando, Florida for the STIHL Tour des Trees, which is the principal fundraising event for my employer, The TREE Fund. 85 riders have raised at least $3,500 a piece to support our research programs, and they will ride over 500 miles in seven days, planting trees, participating in educational and outreach programs, and spreading the word about our important work as they go. I will riding with them for the first four days of the Tour — most likely bringing up the rear of the pack, since my training regimen has been limited this summer due to the move to Chicago, bike being in storage, etc. But that’s okay. It’s about the cause and the fellowship at bottom line, and I am looking forward to meeting the amazing group of volunteer riders, some of whom have been doing this on our behalf for over 20 years.

2. I’m leaving the Tour before it finishes because I have been invited to serve as the Keynote Speaker for the Rensselaer Newman Foundation’s annual Committee of 100 Dinner in Troy, New York, at another place of former employment: The Chapel + Cultural Center at Rensselaer. The community there will be honoring my former colleague and always friend, Rick Hartt, with the Sun + Balance Award, the highest honor given to those who support and serve the Church at Rensselaer. I am looking forward to being back on campus in Troy, and to visiting with many of the folks I worked with during my time there.

3. Closer to home: Marcia and I attended the Jazz Institute of Chicago Gala last night at the lovely Drake Hotel on Michigan Avenue. We have been very impressed by the public programming they offered during our first summer in Chicago, and their educational programs are equally formidable. I had seen one of their up-and-coming student stars, Isaiah Collier, play a couple of times over the summer, and he delighted last night as well during the silent auction and reception to open the evening. Remember his name: I am certain he will be making an increasingly large splash in the years ahead, as he is a truly gifted sax player, with a great career ahead of him. The headliners for the evening were the Rajiv Halim Quintet with special guest Rudresh Mahanthappa, and they offered a great high energy set, including cuts from Manhantappa’s latest album, Bird Calls, which has been earning regular spins in our apartment in recent months. Expect to see it when I do my 24th Annual Best Albums report in December. A fun evening, all around — though it was probably a good thing that I was not attending as a Cubs fan, since things were not going well at Wrigley Field last night during the Gala.

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